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This historical fiction novel by Kathryn Fitzmaurice is about twelve year old Tetsu and his family who are sent to an internment camp in the Arizona Desert after Pearl Harbor simply because they are Japanese-Americans. When his father is sent to a different camp, Tetsu must decide between his love of baseball and his responsibilities.
I formatted the unit as follows. It begins with an explanation of close reading and how to format a lesson. I also included sentence stems aligned to Webb's Depth of Knowledge. Then, there is a summary, themes listed and character descriptions. After that, I created focus questions for each chapter. There are explicit gradual release formatted lessons sprinkled throughout. I included a close reading sheet for each of the explicit lessons. You could use the focus questions to create more close reading lessons using the blank templates or for class discussions. At the end, there is a blank sheet for planning and to use with close reading of different chapters. Finally, I added my version of Cornell Notes, which I use for homework reading. Because this is historical fiction, I did a lot of research for you on important events of the 1940's and created hyperlinks to make it easy for you. I hope your students enjoy it as much as my students did.
Bonus: If you follow her on Twitter, she'll do a 20 minute Skype with your class! We did it and it was amazing!
Awards for Diamond in the Desert:
New York Historical Society Book Prize Finalist, Bank Street Best Book for 2013, 2013 Judy Lopez Memorial Awards Honor Book, VOYA 2012 Top Shelf Fiction choice for Middle School readers, nominated for the 2013 ALSC Notable Children's Book List, Indiebound Kid's Next List pick for Spring 2012
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